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Mackerel, Buckwheat and Pear Salad


This week Stockholm-based Australian photographer Simon Bajada brings us a recipe inspired by a classic Scandinavian ingredient – smoked fish.  In this dish, Simon pairs intensely salty smoked mackerel with fresh, tart pear and crisp celery, and a versatile mustard dressing.

23rd June, 2015
Simon Bajada
Tuesday 23rd June 2015

Salty and full of flavour, smoked fish is extremely versatile and perfect for the lead role in this salad. Smoked mackerel can be quite rich, but here it is balanced by fresh, tart pear and crisp celery.

Toasted buckwheat is an example of a new technique being applied to an old ingredient – one of the tenets of new Nordic cooking. It provides a great texture and an earthy savoury note. The mustard dressing is a staple, and goes very well with any seafood that is a bit more robust.

Ingredients (Serves Four)

For the salad

  • 2 tbsp wholegrain buckwheat
  • 150–200g smoked mackerel fillet
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery heart, thinly sliced
  • 1 nashi or young tart acidic pear, cored and thinly sliced into acidulated water

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 25g dill, finely chopped
  • White pepper


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spread the buckwheat on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10–15 minutes, until it turns golden brown – don’t let it burn. To test if it is ready, bite on a piece, it should still be quite firm but should not break your teeth!

Flake the fish into a large serving bowl. Add the onion, celery and pear and mix gently to combine.

Make the dressing by whisking together the mustard, egg yolk, sugar and vinegar. Add the sunflower oil in a thin stream, whisking continuously until fully incorporated. Finally, stir through the dill and season with a pinch each of salt and white pepper.

Divide the salad between serving dishes, spoon over the dressing and garnish with a sprinkle of toasted buckwheat.

The New Nordic by Simon Bajada is published by Hardie Grant and available here for $49.95.

The New Nordic by Simon Bajada is published by Hardie Grant and available here for $49.95.

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